So there was a change of plans the day after my last update. Instead of heading back to Michigan on August 29, I, along with two other AZL pitchers, moved up to Pasco, WA, to finish the season with the Padres’ short-season A affiliate, the Tri-City Dust Devils. The team was on its final road trip so we met them in Eugene, OR. Landing in Oregon was so nice. Over the last couple months I had forgotten what pine trees and grass look like. Oregon reminds me a lot of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula but with evergreens everywhere. Eugene is absolutely beautiful. It’s a college town (University of Oregon) settled in the mountains. The Cubs’ short-season A affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds, plays at Oregon’s baseball field, which was a cool place to play—literally, since it got down in the 50°s during the later part of the games. It was nice to play in an actual baseball atmosphere with crowds, cheering, walk-up songs, and the smell of grills and food.

I made my Dust Devils debut in game three of the five-game series. I came in in a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 10th inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Nothing like getting thrown in the fire right away. The initial attendance that night was over 2,000, but with the combination of rain and extra innings, by the time I got in the game there couldn’t have been more than 300 people left. Regardless, the adrenaline was pumping. I proceeded to strike out the first batter I faced to end the 10th inning. Sadly, I ended up taking the L on a walk-off sac-fly in the 12th inning. I made my home debut in the second-to-last game of the season against the Vancouver Canadians, the Blue Jays’ affiliate. I went two innings, giving up an opposite-field, game-tying homerun in the 7th inning. Besides giving up that homer and the (unearned) walk-off run, I was happy with how I pitched with the Dust Devils. I would say I ended the season positively.

For you stat nerds, here’s my line for my first season:

AZL Padres 1-2, 4.25 ERA, 29.2 IP, 33 H, 17 R, 14 ER, 12 BB, 25 K, .280 AVG, 1.52 WHIP
Tri-City Dust Devils 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, .167 AVG, 0.75 WHIP
Overall 1-2, 4.01 ERA, 33.2 IP, 25 H, 19 R, 15 ER, 13 BB, 29 K, .269 AVG, 1.43 WHIP

Instead of getting two weeks at home, I got 6 days. They definitely flew by. I didn’t do much relaxing at all. I was able to work out with the Cornerstone baseball team to throw and stay fresh. It was great seeing the guys and being on campus again. It was also nice being around family and chilling at the house. My mom and dad are doing well, and Bandit’s still causing mischief like usual. My mom is now over halfway done with her radiation. She’s taking it pretty well. We appreciate all the prayers and support we’ve gotten, and we ask that you’d continue to support us in prayer.

I’m back in Arizona now and finished with the first week of instructs. It’s pretty routine stuff. I get to the complex by 7 a.m. and I’m usually back in my hotel by 1 p.m. That will change during week two when we start playing games in the afternoon. There’s a lot of off time, which is usually spent playing video games with the guys and finding a place to eat dinner. Having 70+ guys in the same place makes for a fun atmosphere. Everyone is pretty loose and having fun. It gets me excited for spring training when the entire organization is here together.